Another feather in UBD’s cap

Azlan Othman

Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD) was ranked 60th in the latest Asia university rankings in the 8th edition of Times Higher Education’s (THE) Asia University Rankings released today. This marks the first time UBD qualified for the ranking.

The ranking revealed that Asian institutions are continuing to establish themselves as key players in global higher education. With universities from 21 countries and regions represented in the top 100, more than ever before, it is clear that higher education across Asia is continuing to grow in strength.

After becoming the first Chinese university to achieve top place in the ranking in 2019, Tsinghua University has retained the position for two years in a row. This is despite an additional 72 universities qualifying for the 2020 ranking, bringing the total to 489, an increase of 17 per cent. Institutions from a record 30 countries and regions were also included.

Mainland China’s Peking University rose from fifth to second, giving Mainland China the top two spots for the first time since the rankings began. Singapore’s National University of Singapore came in third.

With 78 institutions qualifying for the THE Asia University Rankings 2020 for the first time, bringing the total to 489, and a record 30 countries and regions represented, the competition across the region has never been greater. Iran and Turkey (11) both recorded the largest rise in representation from the 2019 to 2020 rankings, Iran increasing from 29 to 40, and Turkey from 23 to 34.

Brunei Darussalam and Vietnam were the only two countries who had institutions qualifying for the first time. Their top performers saw the UBD placed in the top 100 (60th) and the Vietnam National University, Hanoi among the top 250 (201-250). Furthermore, six of Pakistan’s 14 entrants qualify for the first time, including a top 100 finish for Quaid-i-azam University (75th).

Macao’s Macau University of Science and Technology was the highest ranked debutant (32nd) this year, with nine others achieving top 100 places on their first appearance. These included Mainland China’s Beijing Normal University (45th), India’s Indian Institute of Technology Ropar (47th), Japan’s University of Occupational and Environmental Health (57th) and Brunei Darussalam’s Universiti Brunei Darussalam (joint 60th), the country’s first university to enter the rankings.

The remaining debutants in the top 100 include Turkey’s Cankaya University (joint 65th), Sri Lanka’s University of Peradeniya (69th), Pakistan’s Quaid-i-azam University (joint 75th), Iran’s Yasouj University (89th), and India’s Institute of Chemical Technology (92nd).

Phil Baty, Chief Knowledge Officer of the THE commented, “The continuing changes we are seeing within higher education in Asia are incredibly exciting. With 21 countries and regions represented in the top 100 and a record number of universities qualifying for the THE Asia University Rankings 2020, not only do these rankings demonstrate to the world the strength of higher education across Asia, but they show that Asia’s universities are continuing to establish themselves among the world’s very best.

“Covid-19 will undoubtedly have a significant effect on higher education across the world. This could include disruption to global talent flow with talents that may have previously moved from Asia to Western universities staying in the region. If this plays out, Asian universities are in a fantastic position to continue to boost their international competitiveness.”

The Asia University Rankings 2020 used the same 13 performance indicators as the World University Rankings but were recalibrated to reflect the attributes of Asia’s institutions.

The universities were judged across the core missions of teaching, research, knowledge transfer and international outlook, to provide the most comprehensive and balanced comparisons available.

To be eligible for qualification, universities must have qualified for the previous World University Rankings.